Vallejo, CA — In the land of the free, police can and will detain and extort you for improper bicycle lighting. If you try to escape this extortion, you can be mowed down by a police cruiser, mauled by a police K9, or, as the following incident illustrates, you may even die. Because cops are never held accountable for their actions, the officer who killed Ronell Foster, 33, over a bicycle light was not immediately fired and the taxpayers were held liable instead — to the tune of $5.7 million.
It would take more than two years, and another execution under his belt before Vallejo police officer Ryan McMahon would be fired. A year after McMahon executed Foster, he would execute Willie McCoy as he slept in a Taco Bell drive-thru. It would then take another entire year before police finally realized that this officer is a threat, and fire him.
Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams announced this week that he fired officer McMahon after an internal investigation.
McMahon was not fired for pursing and killing a man over a bicycle light nor was he fired for carelessly firing into the car of a sleeping man and killing him. He was fired for weapons safety violations because when he was killing Willie McCoy, he put other cops in danger. Seriously.
"The idea that they would discipline and ultimately terminate him for technical issues related to endangering another officer and not have terminated him for shooting an unarmed man in the back and shooting a sleeping person it's just really outrageous and it's fairly consistent with our ongoing belief that the city of Vallejo refuses to properly discipline and supervise their employees," said McCoy family attorney Melissa Nold.
Sadly, this is par for the course and the details of the cases make that point perfectly.
On the evening of Feb. 13, 2018, Foster had harmed no one, was not committing a crime and was simply riding his bicycle in downtown Vallejo. However, because he didn't have the proper light on his bicycle, he was pursued by McMahon, who told investigators that he stopped Foster in order to "educate the public on the dangers that this person was creating for himself and the traffic on Sonoma Boulevard."
This act of "education" turned out to actually be an act of execution.
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Despite pursuing Foster for several blocks, McMahon did not activate his body camera until after he killed Foster. However, the camera saves 30 seconds before the officer activates it so the shooting was captured on video.
As the body camera footage begins, Foster is lying on his back as McMahon shoots him at point blank range with his taser. He then appears to holster the taser and opts for his flashlight instead. McMahon then seems to strike Foster several times with the flashlight. Not wanting to die from being beaten to death by a cop's flashlight over a bicycle infraction, Foster grabs the light.
At this point, McMahon claims that he feared for his life and had no other choice but to put a bullet in the back of Foster's head for grabbing the flashlight, killing him.
Because no action was taken against McMahon for killing a man over a bicycle light stop, he was never fired, much less disciplined and went on to kill again the very next year. This time, his victim, Willie McCoy, an aspiring young rapper, would be shot and killed in his sleep by McMahon and several other trigger happy cops.
McCoy was an aspiring 20-year-old rapper whose life was brought to a tragic end in February 2019 — nearly an exact year after McMahon killed Ronell — when six police officers decided to publicly execute him as he slept in his car in the parking lot of a Taco Bell. After nearly six months, and body camera footage showing this execution, the city ruled the officers "acted reasonably" when they dumped 55 rounds into McCoy in 3.5 seconds.
Starting to see a pattern here?
Sadly, the police did not and it would take more than a year to fire McMahon, only because his fellow officers didn't like being shot at when he executed McCoy.
While killing these two people, McMahon was receiving nearly a quarter of a million dollar annual salary ($219,433) — a salary, he will now surely miss.